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review 2018-05-14 03:55
Kept by the Viking (Forgotten Sons #1) by Gina Conkle
Kept by the Viking (Forgotten Sons) - Gina Conkle

Kept by the Viking (Forgotten Sons) - Gina Conkle 

 

Release Date: May 14th, 2018

 

Buy Links 

Harlequin: http://bit.ly/2Elt9Sw
Carina Press: http://bit.ly/2jidyHp
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2DgK9GA
B&N: http://bit.ly/2D6HAKe
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Coojn5
iBooks: https://apple.co/2CYvNcM
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2mo0dy3

 

The story takes place in a time when Vikings were settling in and around the Frankish kingdom. The setting felt authentic and real, with lots of interesting facts and vivid descriptions of how people lived at the time. That was a real treat for me since I love historical bits in my romances. 
After being separated from her family, Safira asks the leader of the Forgotten Sons to help her return home, and while Rurik can tell she’s hiding something, he agrees to help her in exchange for the one thing Safira cannot give. 

I love the way Safira was depicted. From the moment they met, she proved to be resourceful and clever in a way Rurik had never before seen in a woman. Her powers of persuasion and perception came in handy at some crucial times, winning the respect of every one.

There was also the political intrigue, that although I can never get into because it’s all too confusing, it was still interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. The romance though was a slow-burn, not because it wasn’t good but because there were too many things against them as a couple. They did find a way to stay together but it sure took them a sweet long time to get there.

**I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
 

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review 2018-04-22 10:22
Sortes Vergilianae: "The Inferno of Dante" by Dante Alighieri, Robert Pinsky (trans.)
The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation by Robert Pinsky - Robert Pinsky
What I love about Dante is how he doesn't invoke the Muses, unlike Homer, or Virgil, and that he goes straight to the heart of the matter, and straight in to the poem, i.e. "In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray, gone from the path direct". In the middle of his life Dante is lost in a dark wood, the man he most admires, a fellow poet, takes him by the hand and leads him through hell and purgatory, but when they reach the entry for Paradise, Virgil must give way to Beatrice, love is greater than wisdom, Dante's love for Beatrice, his desire for wisdom, what follows is exquisite poetry, and both Botticelli and Dali make an effort to capture the genius that resides there, as words, Virgil's trade, and Dante's, cede to inner knowing, as they ascend, then transcend, life, and reach beyond star and sun into the vast blue. TS Eliot wrote that Dante and Shakespeare "divide the world between them-there is no third." But is it exquisite poetry in English translation? I very much doubt it. The 1970s Penguin verse translation I read by Mark Susa was rubbish. Now I listened to an Audiobook with a translation by Robert Pinsky. Think I'll take T.S. Eliot's advice: use a prose translation if you must but learn Italian if you're serious about getting anything out of Dante's poetry (Portuguese and Italian both came from the same mold, Latin, but they're two very different languages).
 
 
If you're into Medieval Literature, read on.

 

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review 2018-04-07 01:58
Great historical setting, mystery is meh
Falconer's Crusade - Ian Morson

This is a pretty short mystery to read through. Looks can be deceiving though. Despite being short, it’s packed in with some heavy duty stuff.

 

The setting for example. Very rich in detail and gives you a sense on how it was back then in William Falconer’s time. Add in some political intrigue, a Jewish Quarter, and some rioting and it gets pretty exciting. I really can’t get over how great the setting is. It’s so descriptive you can feel the darkness and the dampness that permeates throughout the novel. Morson also does an excellent job to stay close to historical accuracy here in this novel as well. Forensic pathology is frowned upon, and you even get to see Falconer try on a strange contraption that looks a lot like Medieval opera glasses at the time. :)

 

The plot is pretty straight forward although there is not much of a secret mystery element in it. The suspect list is not extensive (thankfully! You’ll see why as you read further into this review) and when revealed it’s not much of a surprise or an a ha! Moment. There isn’t much personality to the characters except Falconer and his student Thomas. Thomas is a particular dolt. A Farmer boy who managed to be gifted and chosen to study and be a Scholar, well, for all the idiotic moves he makes, you have to wonder how the University chose this guy to let him attend their school. He fumbles and stumbles at the worst times and always manages to get himself into some life threatening situations (and doesn’t learn from it). It was funny the first few times, but after a while it gets annoying and you want to slap this boy upside the head. (You don’t deserve Hannah’s attention, you twit).

 

I’m going to assume it will get better with other books in this series, and this one serves as an introduction to the series. Since I really do love the historical aspect I will stick with this series and see where it takes me. Historical mystery lovers will love the setting and theme of this book, the mystery part, not so much.

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review 2018-03-28 15:29
Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning
Into the Dreaming: With Bonus Material - Karen Marie Moning

He's endured five centuries in an icy hell, now he has a month to know love and be loved...But he doesn't know it.

The Unseelie king had tricked him into servitude, torturing him to turn him into his perfect soldier, Vengeance. Their bargain was for one month to find love and the king has to keep his end of it. But that doesn't mean he has to make it easy.

Enter Jane Sillee, who, thanks to the Seelie queen, has spent her life dreaming of Aedan MacKinnon, falling in love with him in the Dreaming. It's the Waking that's the problem, since she's suddenly (inexplicably) in the fifteenth century and the man doesn't know who she is.

Well, she won't go down without a fight. She has a month? She's planning on using every single day of it.


This was a rather sweet story, but unfortunately it lacked necessary length to really let the plot develop. Also, the absence of any sort of suspense or dangerous situations (once the assault on the heart and memories of Aedan/Vengeance began) were conspicuously absent, firmly putting this story into the middle-ground range.

The characters lacked any serious depths with the hero spending most of the story as the stoic, icy right hand of the Unseelie king, while the heroine, despite the author's obvious efforts, failed to appear humorous and quirky.


Bonus material:
⇾ I wouldn't mind reading Ghost of a Chance.
⇾ The two deleted (changed) chapters from Kiss of the Highlander were 'not-here-not-there'. An interesting glimpse into what could've been, nothing more.
⇾ And lastly: yes, the Lite version was off. Too neat, too tidy, too tame. There's nothing tame about Dageus MacKeltar.

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review 2018-03-28 05:04
An exceptional study of England in the high Middle Ages
England Under The Norman And Angevin Kings, 1075-1225 - Robert Bartlett

Robert Bartlett’s contribution to the New Oxford History of England series is about a kingdom in transition.  In 1075, England was a newly conquered realm of William of Normandy, who was transforming the sleepy monarchy of the Anglo-Saxons into a powerful feudal state.  A century and a half later, his great-great-great grandson, Henry III, issued a modified Magna Charta that served as the foundation of English common law, establishing the right of the English aristocracy against the king.  How this evolution took place forms just one aspect of this exceptional book, which addresses nearly every aspect of England’s politics, culture, and society during this period.

 

In doing this, Bartlett adopts an analytical rather than narrative approach.  Events are studied within the context of the broader patterns and developments of the era.  This makes for a more challenging read but also a much more rewarding one, with insights contained on every page.  Readers unfamiliar with the period should start with a survey such as David Carpenter’s The Struggle for Mastery, but even knowledgeable students of the period will learn much from Bartlett’s clear writing and perceptive analysis.

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